DON’T SING THAT SONG!!!!!!!

“The sun,–the bright sun, that brings back, not light alone, but new life, and hope, and freshness to man–burst upon the crowded city in clear and radiant glory. Through costly-coloured glass and paper-mended window, through cathedral dome and rotten crevice, it shed its equal ray.”
― Charles Dickens

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(I had to go back a full year to find a sun shot for March / Julie Cook / 2014)

“Sunshine go away today
I don’t feel much like dancing. . .”

You remember that catchy little tune don’t you?
It was a late 60’s sounding folksy tune, written and sung by Jonathan Edwards, which actually came out in 1971. A catchy seemingly happy enough tune, yet with some dark angry undertones. . .

“Some man’s gone he’s tried to run my life
Don’t know what he’s asking

How much does it cost, I’ll buy it
The time is all we’ve lost, I’ll try it
But he can’t even run his own life
I’ll be damned if he’ll run mine, Sunshine”

We should actually all take notice that during this particular time of waning, yet fiercely determined winter, which has a deep and angry hold over most of our lives, and which continues wrecking havoc on our lives by lashing out with snow, ice, rain, cold, winds, fog, mist, deep grey. . . all of which seems to be holding our dear sun not only at bay but more like hostage, I am passionately proclaiming that no one, I repeat, no one must be allowed to sing that song!!!

Sun, PPPPLLLLEEEEEAAAAASSSSSEEEE, don’t go away, but rather I’m begging, COME BACK and STAY!!!

I am afraid that we are soon to have a national epidemic on our hands—a paralyzing byproduct to these lingering wintertime blues known scientifically as S.A.D. . .Seasonal Affective Disorder–a widely recognized medical condition with symptoms such as depression, lethargy, fatigue, cravings for heavy carbs (hummmm), and an overall feeling of the icky, ehh, blahs.

And may I add that my husband seems to have a really bad case. . .for he is defiantly SAD, ill, mad, or in laymen’s terms. . .out of sorts and very, very grumpy.

His only day off throughout the long workweek is Sunday, as he owns and operates a small retail business in our community. . .which, may I add, is in itself enough to make anyone grumpy and ill of temperament. And I sadly must report that the past 4 Sundays in a row it has been rainy, wet, foggy icy, snowy, cold, grey, icky, ehh and blah. . .in other words, not days you want to exactly run around outside fishing, working in the yard or simply basking in the glories of the great outdoors. This for a man who loves nothing but being out in the wilds of nature especially after having been cooped up in retail 6 days a week, 14 hours a day.
“Of course it could be worse” he laments, “we could live in Boston.. .”

And speaking of Boston. . .
Our northern kinsmen have been unduly hammered by Mother Nature this winter, as well as our brethren in the Midwest, the central mid section, the Northwest, Canada, not to mention northern Europe. . . I fear we just may have a full fledged CDC 5 alarm epidemic on our hands. . .a malady of S.A.D. run amuck.
And lest we forget that a SAD, Ill, out of sorts husband makes for a frazzled, exasperated, and disturbed wife. . .I’ve we’ve defiantly got big troubles on my our hands. . .

Panic stricken, as we find ourselves scrambling for some sort of treatment or cure, we desperately seek out experts who can stop this spreading menace before it’s all too late.
And just when we thought all was lost, we actually discover that we have several options of choice.

The obvious, yet most impractical for the general populace, is to get the heck out of dodge. Get on a plane and fly away to some place full of sun and warmth—joining in with the throngs of the same minded and obviously overtly pale individuals seeking solace while flocking to more tropical environs—hence the abomination know to any true native southern Floridian, the ubiquitous snowbird

The other option is Vitamin D.
What???
Yes vitamin D.
But I thought vitamin D was all about milk and bones, right?
Well yes. . .as we must remember that the greatest source of Vitamin D produced in our bodies is taken in through our skin from sunlight with other secondary sources including the consumption of milk, oily fish, eggs. . .

So more often than not, our wintertime depressive sun deprived moods are due to just that, the deprivation of light and of our exposure to the sun.
We’ve discovered that those who suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency are most often those who have little to no exposure to the outdoors and daylight, no basking and frolicking in the sunshine. For when the sun hangs low on the horizon, as it does in our more northernly Northern Hemisphere skies, during the dark days of winter, a lack of Vitamin D is a very real and common occurrence.

Another available option is the use of a specially designed light box
What??
A light box, a box fitted with special bulbs which are much brighter than the average indoor lightbulb. A light box mimics the full spectrum and intensity of light cast from the sun. Most experts recommend sitting by a light box for approximately 30 minutes each day, preferably shortly after waking, in order to get the full required amount of exposure.

Ok. . .so now having fully considered my options, I’m pretty certain I know the course of action I must take.

First, I’m going to buy my husband a bottle of Vitamin D supplements.
Secondly I’m going to buy a life sized light box that I’ll lock him in that he’ll be able to fully utilize reaping all the benefits while I in turn buy a one way ticket to some delightfully warm tropical locale such as, say, Bali or Fiji or Turks and Caicos or the Seychelles, or. . .well, you get the picture. . .some place with greenery and warmth, drinks with little umbrellas. . .a place where I can sit, basking in a beach chair singing “here comes the sun“. . .a place that has lots and lots of Vitamin D !!
So while I’m gone, don’t forget to take your vitamins. . .

Snowbirds

A snowbird is someone from the U.S. Northeast, U.S. Midwest, Pacific Northwest, or Canada who spends a large portion of winter in warmer locales such as California, Arizona, Florida, Texas, the Carolinas, or elsewhere along the Sun Belt region of the southern and southwest United States, Mexico, and areas of the Caribbean.
Snowbirds are typically retirees who wish to avoid the snow and cold temperatures of northern winter, but maintain ties with family and friends by staying there the rest of the year.

(a lovely Wikipedia explanation)

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(watering time out back for the three snowbirds)

Meet the snowbirds:
One kumquat tree, which just might just have an identity crisis as there is question as to whether or not it might just be a calamondin tree.
One recovering meyer lemon tree—recovering not from addiction but rather from a near death experience.
And a bare naked small peach tree.

This threesome is “over wintering” in my basement. Do you recall the post back in September “Don’t you know this isn’t southern California?” The post in which I was near sheer panic due to the fact that the kumquat / calamondin tree had really big nice round green fruit and that in just a few short weeks the first frosts of the season would be upon us?

And as fate would have it, those pretty little green orbs were not about to change before the frost hit—therefore sending me and the trees on a wild race of transportation down to the depths of the basement. Ever tried lifting giant potted trees into the back of a small trailer which is pulled by a Four wheeler, then lowering them down on mini dollies all in order to “roll” the trees inside for the duration of winter? Do you know what a hernia happens to feel like?!

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Well today was a lucky day for these little winter birds—the temperatures were such today that the trees could actually be rolled outside for a bit of much needed fresh air, a good hose watering minus the watering can, as well as the pleasure of actually enjoying a little bit of warming sunshine. According to the forecast, I think it’s safe for them to remain outside until later in the week—when freezing temps return. Boo hiss—please remind me to bring them back inside!

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All of today’s in and out business has made me mindful of the importance the sun plays for all of us living creatures. Not only will a little time outside, in the sun and fresh air, be beneficial for my little trees, it is certainly beneficial to me and my own winter blue mood. There is much truth about this sun business, especially for those who suffer from S.A.D. or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Be it a very real Vitamin D deficiency or simply the blue mood feeling of a tinge of depression that you just can’t put your finger on or pin point exactly why. . .
A lack of sun and fresh air is vital to the well being of most living creatures–with the exception being, perhaps, the naked mole rat, but I digress.

Nowhere else do we see the important role sunlight plays in our lives more poignantly acknowledged than in the small Norwegian town of Rjukan. A small town similar to other small towns worldwide but it is here in Rjukan where the mayor worries over the overt paleness of the town’s children.

For more than half the year, the 3400 residents of this small town, nestled deeply in the Scandinavian mountains, are without any direct sunlight as the sun rays are blocked by the tall lumbering mountains. Day in and day out the residents of Rjukan live literally in the shadows.
If townsfolk want to see and feel the sun, traveling out of town is the only remedy.

It wasn’t until 3 large reflective mirrors were installed that the residents of Rijukan realized just how much they’ve missed the sun. As the reflective mirrors redirect sunlight down onto the town’s central square, residents have noted how much they are not only warmed physically, but more importantly they are “mentally warmed.” There is even a YouTube news spot showcasing how the mirrors work—

But to me, what is notably telling about how well the mirrors are working is most strikingly observed by how local residents are now congregating in the square just to sit, feeling the sun warming their faces—relishing in the simple act of enjoying the sun which so many of us take for granted. Young mothers now push baby carriages into the sunny area of the square as older couples come to just sit together basking in the warmth as they rekindle their own warm memories. . . all while the sun beckons the weary eyed individuals to come find a warm spot of color in the otherwise grey world of shadows.
(here is a copy of an article appearing in The Guardian:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/06/rjukan-sun-norway-town-mirrors )

So if you’re finding yourself a bit out of sorts, feeling overwhelmed by this never ending winter of snow and ice or if you simply feel as if you’re living too deeply in the shadows. . .take heart— remember the sun will shine again, there will be warm days ahead and if all else fails. . .find a sunny spot, turn your face skyward and soak in a little vitamin D.

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Fruits of my labors, still gathering kumquats / calamondins in February!! Crazy tree!!!